Competition fierce at national sailing rally

| 01/11/2011

(CISC): Youth sailors converged on the North Sound over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd October 2011 to compete in the 2011 Scotiabank Youth National Sailing Championship. The annual National Sailing Championship is one of the most anticipated sailing regattas on the Cayman Islands Sailing Club’s calendar, and once again this year the regatta lived up to its reputation. There were four different classes: Laser Radial, Pico Double handers, Optimist Championship fleet and this year’s new entry, the Optimist green fleet. The competition was fierce as the young sailors were all vying for top honours and bragging rights particularly after the recent event in the Bahamas.

The first day of racing had to be cancelled due to torrential rain and lightning: much to the disappointment of the competitors. The following day all sailors were rigged and ready to go by 11am, despite the ominous clouds hovering over the sound. When the sound for the first warning signal went off at mid-day those threatening clouds had long gone. The sailors were greeted with a gentle 6 – 9 knots of north-westerly breeze. This made for some close and intense battles around the racecourse. 

The Optimist fleet had the most hype and was the most talked about event, leading up to the weekend. Prior to the championship, the Optimist sailors had been training five times a week.

The two time defending Optimist champion, Allena “Rocket” Rankine, (above) had warned her fellow sailors, especially her friend and arch sailing rival, Florence Allan (who had beaten her to take top girl honours, a few weeks ago at the Bahamas Optimist Nationals), that the Cayman Optimist Nationals was her regatta and she was going to “bring it” on the weekend. And boy did she bring it… She got five bullets in as many races, which guaranteed her a third consecutive National Optimist Championship in a row, a feat which has never been accomplished by any other Caymanian youth sailor. Florence took second place and Finley McDougall took third. In the beginners Optimist green fleet; Jonathan Wight took 1st place and Caylem Hill took 2nd.

In the Laser Radials, former Optimist champion, Matthew Courtis, took top position with four bullets out the five races; Alex Robertson, second place and Stryker Ebanks in his first ever regatta took third. In the Pico double handed fleet, firstplace went to Alex Johnson & Iain Robertson; 2nd place went to Douglas Rowland & Matthew Hanson; and Alex Price & Jackson Wight took 3rd place.

Overall, it was a fantastic day of sailing and all the kids had a great time on the water. Head coach Raph said, “I was very impressed with the level of sailing skills that was displayed on the water on Sunday”. He also noted that there has been a noticeable positive change in attitude towards training, since the kids returned from the Bahamas Optimist Sailing Championship (a regatta in which they all did really well). Kudos also goes to coach Kelvin and Rebecca for their continuous hard work and dedication to the sailing programme.

The Cayman Island Sailing Club and National Sailing Centre would like to thank Scotiabank for their continued support of National youth sailing in the Cayman Islands. Without their support this regatta would not have been possible.

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